The proposed site for the upcoming Rs 900-crore Nirma cement plant at Padhiarka village in Mahuva taluka of Bhavnagar district has become a bone of contention between the company and the seven neighbouring villages.
Bharat Narayan, the sarpanch of Dudheri, one of the affected villages, said: "The Salinity Control Department had constructed a control bund (Bandharo) at the proposed plant site in 1999 at an estimated cost of Rs 3.5 crore. This helped in building up a reservoir of sweet water just near the Bandharo." According to the villagers, this reservoir is the main source of irrigation for the seven neighbouring villages . With the state Government allocating nearly 268 hectares of the Bandharo land to the Nirma cement plant, their only source of water is now under threat.
Pratap Gohil, a resident of Mahuva taluka said: "This proposed site also comprises gaucher land of three villages. The authorities are silent on any alternate arrangement for this."
Paryavaran Mitra, a voluntary organisation that has raised objections to the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) report of the Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) also pointed out a judgement passed by the Gujarat High Court on August 2, 2002 in the Sailesh Shah vs Government of Gujarat case.